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Zebra mussels invade Lake Mary in Douglas County

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By Al Edenloff / Alexandria Echo Press

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The list of lakes infested with zebra mussels continues to grow.

Last week, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) confirmed the presence of zebra mussels in Lake Mary, south of Alexandria.

When lake residents reported finding a zebra mussel attached to a rock in the northeast bay, DNR crews searched the area on July 29 and found another adult zebra mussel.

“We take reports from the public seriously, and thoroughly investigate every incident,” said Joe Eisterhold, DNR northwest region aquatic invasive species specialist. “With more than 10,000 lakes in Minnesota, we need help from the public to locate new infestations.”

Lake Mary and several other lakes will be designated as infested waters and signs will be posted at all public accesses as soon as possible.

The designation begins with Lake Mary and continues downstream, eventually reaching Lake Brophy and the rest of the Alexandria chain, which are already infested with zebra mussels.

Connected waters include:

--Skoglund Slough.

--Unamed lake (21047900).

--Grill.

--Mill.

--Lobster (east bay).

--Lobster (west bay).

--Mina.

--Unnamed lake (21044000).

Douglas County now has 21 named lakes listed as infested with zebra mussels, along with a portion of the Long Prairie River. Statewide, there are more than 130 bodies of water listed as infested.

According to DNR leaders, the latest infestation underscores the need for continued diligence in complying with the state’s laws to prevent and curb the spread of invasive species.

Boaters and anglers need to be extra vigilant in ensuring their boats and equipment are clean before leaving a lake access and to contact the DNR right away if they find suspicious aquatic animals or plants.

It is legal to transport suspected aquatic invasive species (AIS) in a sealed container to the DNR for reporting and identification purposes. If it’s not possible to bring in a sample, boaters are encouraged to take a picture and note the exact location where the specimen was found. Early detection is critical in preventing the spread to other water-bodies.

Anglers, boaters and other recreationists must remove all aquatic plants, zebra mussels, and other prohibited invasive species, drain water from all water equipment including portable bait containers, and drain bilges and livewells by removing the drain plug before leaving the boat landing.

More information about zebra mussels, how to inspect boats and other water-related equipment, and a current list of designated infested waters is available on the DNR website at www.mndnr.gov/ais.

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